‘GREEN’ DOLLARS BECKON FOR SA AS PIONEERING CARBON OFFSET DEAL IS SIGNED
17 December 2009
As SA commits to a 45% reduction in carbon emissions in Copenhagen, Nedbank and Wildlife Works Inc. sign a multi-million dollar agreement on an East African REDD carbon project, providing a model for South Africa to tap into the global green economy.
This carbon offset agreement which will pour millions of dollars into Kenya is set to serve as a model for South Africa to tap into the global green economy.
Kevin Whitfield, head of carbon at Nedbank Capital, says the carbon market provides a mechanism for linking Africa into the global green economy, while simultaneously conserving its rich natural heritage and safeguarding the livelihoods of its people. The Rukinga and the associated Kasigau Wildlife Corridor project illustrate just how this is possible.
There is a scarcity of projects of this type and very few large scale carbon projects in Africa, despite high demand and prices for good quality African offsets and this presents a real opportunity for South African community and environmental projects,” explains Whitfield.
“We encourage South African businesses as well as the NGO sector to intensify the drive to make green projects viable from an investor perspective. Carbon credits represent a new asset class which will support businesses in treating CSI as in investment, rather than an expense,” he says.
In terms of the agreement, Nedbank will acquire carbon credits from Wildlife Works’ projects for on-sale to South African corporates and other players in the global carbon market. The more than 2,5 million tonnes of carbon will primarily be made available through the avoided deforestation of the Kasigau Corridor guaranteed until 2026.
Nedbank will retain a portion of the carbon credits for its own carbon offset requirements securing its carbon neutral positioning and putting it in the company of other well respected financial institutions such as HSBC and Deutsche Bank.
“This is Africa’s first REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) project developed at scale and seeking registration from the benchmark voluntary carbon market registry, the VCS (Voluntary Carbon Standard),” says Whitfield. “It effectively proves Africa can fight climate change while uplifting rural communities and protecting wildlife through accessing carbon markets. South Africa and other nations can be expected to quickly seize on the opportunities demonstrated by the Kenyan venture.”
The project has been awarded gold level approval under the Climate Community and Biodiversity Alliance’s (CCBA) forestry protection standard. This is seen as a milestone in establishing REDD in the global carbon marketplace.
Mike Korchinsky, founder and president of Wildlife Works, says, its new venture, Wildlife Works Carbon, was established to help local landowners in the developing world to monetize their forest and biodiversity assets whether they are governments, communities, ownership groups or private individuals.
“The corridor project was designed to bring substantial benefits to local communities through education, job creation, environmental protection and direct financial rewards, while protecting precious biodiversity at the same time. It has met the most rigorous standard for ensuring communities and biodiversity benefit from climate change projects. To date it has delivered hundreds of jobs and four schools, setting a positive example for millions of Africans who have the potential to gain financial reward from REDD to boost the future of sustainable development in the face of climate change-related pressure to their livelihoods.
“We believe the global voluntary carbon marketplace is ready for carbon credits that the average consumer can relate to. Carbon credits that protect natural forests, endangered species and the livelihoods of Africa’s rural communities will be massively appealing to organisations or consumers wanting to do their part by reducing their own carbon footprint,” says Korchinsky.
Saliem Fakir, head of the WWF in South Africa, says the indigenous forests of Africa are under constant threat as a result of human activities and climate change.
“Many of these types of forests cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Saving them should be an utmost priority. Rukinga and the associated Kasigau Wildlife Corridor project are world class examples of projects that are making a tangilble difference to both communities and the environment and it is innovative finance solutions, like carbon financing, that makes them possible. Both Nedbank and Wildlife Works are to be commended for their role in bringing this deal to fruition,” he says.
Notes to the Editor:
About Nedbank Capital
Nedbank Capital comprises the Nedbank Group’s investment banking businesses that together manage the structuring, lending and underwriting activities and all trading and broking activities in the equity, capital, interest rate, and foreign exchange and derivative markets across the African continent.
To position Nedbank, and its clients, appropriately for a carbon-constrained future Nedbank Capital has a dedicated Carbon Finance Team that views carbon dioxide and other emissions holistically. The team looks at emissions end to end, using a five-pronged approach that draws on cross-functional expertise in finance against the backdrop of a value proposition comprising the following:
- Sustainability – devising carbon strategy and policy.
- Carbon advisory and footprinting services.
- Identification and development of Clean Development Mechanism projects.
- Identification and development of carbon projects for the voluntary carbon market.
- Carbon trading – trading of certified emission reduction and verified emission reduction certificates and providing client brokerage services to monetise carbon benefits or to obtain carbon neutrality.
Nedbank’s Green Credentials include:
- Dow Jones Sustainability Index membership – the world’s premier performance benchmark for companies in terms of corporate sustainability. Included for fifth year. One of only 25 banks worldwide and three companies with primary listings in South Africa to be included on the index (only SA Bank). 2009: 78% (2008: 74%).
- JSE SRI Index – inclusion since 2004.
- South African Carbon Disclosure Project Leadership Index – ranked 1st in 2009.
- Financial Times – Emerging Markets Sustainable Bank of the Year for Middle East & Africa (2007 and 2008).
- Equator Principles – first African bank signatory (in 2005).
- Carbon Neutrality – announced intention to become 100% carbon neutral in 2009, first large South African corporate to do so.
- WWF Conservation Partnership
- UNEP FI – co-chair on the UNEP FI African Task Force.
- African Banker – Social Responsibility Award (2009).
- UNEP FI – signatory to official Statement on Climate Change and Copenhagen Communiqué.
Nedbank is represented on the following bodies both locally and internationally:
- Climate Neutral Network
- UNEP FI African Task Force
- UNEP FI Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services Work Stream
- UNEP FI Human Rights Work Stream
- United Nations Global Compact – ‘Caring for Climate’ Programme
- National Business Initiative Sustainable Futures Advisory Committee
- National Energy Efficiency Accord
- Banking Association of South Africa; Sustainable Finance Committee
- UNISA Climate Change Advisory Committee
About Wildlife Works’ Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary / Kasigau Wildlife Corridor Project
- In 1997 WWI (Wildlife Works Inc.) established the 30 000 hectares Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary at the Northern end of the Kasigau corridor adjacent to Tsavo East National Park. Working closely with local communities and the Kenya Wildlife Service, WWI has been protecting the fragile dry-land forest which is home to Africa’s ‘big 5’ wildlife as well as many other of the smaller but equally as important game.
- The Kasigau Wildlife Corridor sits between two National Parks, Tsavo East and Tsavo West. It is approximately 200,000 hectares of dryland forest and savannah grassland that serves as an important wildlife corridor for movement of elephant, giraffe, zebra, and other large mammals between the two National Parks. The forest is under constant threat of subsistence farming, grazing, logging for fire wood, charcoal and hunting of bush meat. It is WWI’s intention to protect the entire Kasigau Corridor with the carbon proceeds received from avoided deforestation and reforestation at the Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary, thereby safeguarding wildlife movement in the area.
- The Rukinga project represents a unique model of commercial wildlife preservation in Africa, accessing global carbon markets to provide financial support for conservation instead of allowing “fence-and-shoot” trophy hunting. WWI has implemented a wide range of sustainable development initiatives at Rukinga over the past ten years, including:
- Organic clothing factory
An Ecofactory has been constructed, employing young women from the community to sew organic cotton clothing which is exported to the US and Europe for sale on the internet and in fashion boutiques
- Organic greenhouse
An organic greenhouse has been established to grow citrus trees which are sold at a discount to local farmers so that they can plant a tree for shade that will also earn them income. WWI uses the funds from the citrus sales to fund the growth and distribution of free agroforestry species such as Neem and Morabaini to local farmers, to meet their medicinal, nutrition and fuelwood needs.
- Dryland farming scheme
In conjunction with the Kenyan Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), a climate appropriate plant called Jojoba that provides a cash crop through its seeds and is extremely drought tolerant is being cultivated.
- Schools and bursary scheme
A school building programme is underway which has, over the years in partnership with the community and various donors, built 18 classrooms throughout the district. A school bursary programme has also sent dozens of local children through private high school, and several on to college.
In partnership with an ecotourism provider a camp in the centre of the Rukinga Sanctuary is operated. This provides employment for safari guides and other service jobs, and a market for local produce.
About the Carbon Credits
- WWI qualifies for carbon credits based on its preservation of forest and wildlife. The Rukinga project has already achieved certification with the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (“CCBA”) standard and registration is being sought with the Voluntary Carbon Standard (“VCS”).
- The carbon credits are Verified Emission Reductions (“VER’s”) which can be used to offset an organisation’s carbon footprint, over and above cap-and-trade emission regulation.
- Due to the high quality community work and biodiversity benefit attached to the project it has received gold standard accreditation from the CCBA, which is the highest level of accreditation given by the CCBA.
- The World Bank has indicated that the CCBA and the VCS standards are two of the five most reputable carbon offset standards globally.
- According to a study done by the World Bank, the CCBA and Gold Standard schemes are two schemes which sell ‘premium credits’ at higher prices for guaranteed sustainable development ‘co-benefits’.
- In terms of both VCS and CCBA rules the project qualifies for credits from 2006 for a period of 20 years.
- The project will qualify for approximately 130 000 credits per annum (excluding a buffer of 40 000 credits).
For more information please visit www.nedbankgroup.co.za; www.nedbankcapital.co.za or www.wildlifeworks.com
|Issued by Nedbank Group Communications:
Senior Communication Manager – Nedbank Capital
Tel: +27 11 295 5672
Cell: +27 82 672 7571
Head of Carbon: Nedbank Capital
Tel: +27 (0)11 294 2268
Mobile: +27 (0)82 901 5846
Founder and President: Wildlife Works Inc
Tel: + 415 332 8081
|This page was updated on
18 December, 2009